Monday, July 31, 2023

Aroy Thai

-Grubbing in Chicago  
Northern Thai Food in Ravenswood

Despite the fact I’ve been blogging about Chicago restaurants for more than 15 years I still haven’t posted about all of my go-to spots. No reason in particular other than I just haven’t gotten around to doing so in part because it’s not like most of us don’t know about a place like Aroy Thai. But if not it’s just north of the Damen brown line station where it’s a neighborhood staple. It’s one of the many spots I was put onto by LTHforum back in the message boards early days. The purpose of the still up and running site was to shine a light on spots like Aroy Thai and that purpose was more than achieved as it’s always listed among the city’s best Thai restaurants and rightfully so. There’s no such thing as a hidden gem anymore and it seems like everyone has been everywhere but I still wanted to throw up a little piece on one of my favorite places in town for the bold and beautiful flavors of Northern Thailand. Aroy (which means tasty in Thai) has a nice menu selection of Northern Thai favorites. 

Locals Favorite in Ravenswood

Aroy Thai is a very casual spot but the food is very formal. The menu sports many of the classics you’ll find at most Thai restaurants around town but it also has some of the stuff you won’t find everywhere and that’s what I come here for. Options like the Morning Glory (Pak Boong) which is the nickname for stir fried water spinach. I first came across it in Chiang Mai and I instantly became a big fan. Most spots stir fry it over a high heat with garlic and chilies plus dry and liquid seasonings. It’s salty, sweet, and spicy which are just a few of the key components of Thai food. Although Morning Glory is common at restaurants in SE Asia it’s less common here. Aroy Thai is one of the few spots in town that seems to have it.

Morning Glory at Aroy Thai 

If I see some form of grilled pork collar on the menu I’ll order it more times than not. I think this might have been the first spot I tried it in the form of Thai style grilled pork neck (Kor Moo Yang). It’s a pretty traditional dish. Aroy serves a version that’s well charred and comes with a wonderfully funky and spicy jeow sauce that packs a ton of bold flavor. I like how they cut the meat up into bite size pieces as it’s tender but comes with a slight chew. Make a complete meal out of it by adding a sticky rice. 

Grilled Pork Collar at Aroy Thai 

Speaking of sticky rice one of my favorite “quick meals” is grabbing an order of sticky rice along with a small cup of jeow sauce to keep in the fridge for a quick breakfast (or even lunch or dinner). All I do is add a fried egg to the mix. The runny egg yolk is a great match with the savory jeow sauce and the sticky rice is the perfect delivery vehicle for it. Thai food has become comfort food for me and Aroy is one of my go-to spots for something comforting. I’ve been eating here for more than a decade. 

Sticky Rice, Fried Egg, Jeow Sauce 

Aroy Thai
4654 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 275-8360

1 comment:

Randall Kramer said...

How do you think Aroy THAI compares
one of our decades long fave-
Sticky Rice on Western @ Irving Park Rd.?


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